Mary Lou Duncan Venable, age 78 of New Tazewell, TN. Mary Lou was born October 25, 1943 and passed away on May 10, 2022.
She attended Claiborne County High School marrying her high school sweetheart, Jerry Venable, on October 23, 1960 at the age of 16. Mary Lou was saved at an early age at Midway Baptist Church and was a member at Tazewell Baptist Church.
While in high school, Mary Lou was a carhop at the Frostee Freeze. She enrolled at Collins School of Beauty in Middlesboro, KY and became a licensed cosmetologist in 1962; she often gave thanks to Polly Enix for providing her a way to Middlesboro daily so she could attend cosmetology school. Mary Lou enjoyed a successful career as a hairdresser in Atlanta, GA and Tazewell, TN until an illness in 1974 forced her from the career she loved. She enrolled at Lincoln Memorial University, earning a B.S. in Business Administration in 1977, graduating Cum Laude.
In the early years, Mary Lou was an active member of the Tazewell/New Tazewell Jaycettes, serving as President of the local Chapter in 1971 and then a Regional VP. Mary Lou worked tirelessly in community projects to include the early years of the First Baptist Church of New Tazewell Bus Ministry, serving many years as the Claiborne County Chair for the March of Dimes and working with the Claiborne County Fair Association.
After graduating from LMU, she enrolled in the psychology master’s program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As fate would have it, Mary Lou directed her attention to managing the local Buck Stove business in Tazewell, soon to purchase it. The family business, Venable Buck Stoves, grew into additional retail centers and a wholesale distributorship in TN, KY, VA, and GA from 1977-1987. He husband joined her in the family business growing it to the largest in the country.
Mary Lou was also instrumental in Venable Brother’s Men’s Shop in Middlesboro, KY with her husband Jerry, and brother and sister-in-law, Eddie and Brenda Venable. She helped her daughter Elaine at Elaine’s Bridal Boutique.
In 1983 Mary Lou was introduced to network marketing, she quickly rose thru the ranks of A. L. Williams to Senior Vice President, breaking all records to promote to Regional Vice President in the insurance and investment sector. Mary Lou also was a licensed stockbroker. She received many recognitions for her outstanding leadership.
Mary Lou developed a love for networking and the many people it gave her an opportunity to meet and build longstanding relationships with; other companies she worked with include Nu Skin International and Rexall Showcase International. While with Rexall, Mary Lou was the first female 10 Star Presidential Director and the first female to serve on the RSI Advisory Board.
Mary Lou enjoyed business and traveling near and far but her greatest joy was being with family and friends, including childhood friends and classmates. She and Jerry always welcomed their nieces, nephews, and all of their friends. Their home was open to all for a meal, fellowship, game nights, and a place where everyone would feel at home. Mary Lou loved her neighbors and friends throughout her life.
Mary Lou is survived by:
Daughter and Son-In-Law, Elaine Venable Stapleton & Dr. Roy Steven Stapleton of New Tazewell. The loves of her life, granddaughter, Maria Grace Stapleton Harris and husband Benjamin Terry Harris of Bean Station and Great Grandson, Grayson Benjamin Harris.
Sisters: Ann Duncan Estes and husband Dennis of Tazewell and Dorothy Duncan Johns, Knoxville. Aunt: Joanne Newby of Tazewell.
Brothers-In-Law: Edward Bolton Venable & wife, Brenda of Houston, TX; Joe Dan Venable & Wife, Sylvia of Dover, DE; Sisters-In-Law: Jane Venable Duncan & husband Brian of Powell; Sister-In-Law: Dorothy Venable of Dundee, MI; Sister-In-Law Peggy DeBusk, New Tazewell.
Preceded in death by:
Her husband Jerry (Horace Greely Venable, Jr), in 2008 after 47 years of marriage; Parents: Gracie Newby Duncan & Tyler Duncan of Tazewell; Sister and husband: Eva Duncan DeBusk and Bill DeBusk of New Tazewell; Sister and husband: Margaret Duncan Love and Dean Love of New Tazewell; Brother and wife: Joe Tyler Duncan and Betty Duncan of New Tazewell; Brother and wife: Johnny and Carol Duncan of TX; Brother-in-law: Oscar Johns, Knoxville; Brother-in-law: David Marshall Venable, MI.
The funeral was held Sunday, May 15, 2022 at Claiborne Overholt Funeral Home, New Tazewell, TN. with Rev. Bill Duncan and Rev. Eddie Overholt officiating. Irving Gipson and Bruce Messer provided music. Burial followed at Fairview Cemetery with Rev. Tyler DeBusk.
Mary Lou was a proud graduate of Lincoln Memorial University as well as her husband, daughter and granddaughter. She was so proud of Maria Grace and her golf career at the university. In Lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to the Mary Lou and Jerry Venable Memorial Scholarship, Lincoln Memorial University, ATTN: University Advancement, 6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy., Harrogate, TN 37752. 423.869.6351
Claiborne Overholt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.